I read a story that brought back unpleasant memories. The article was entitled “Too Fat Teen Model Spotlights Fashions Dark Side” You can read the article here.
The article addresses the pressures to be thin. It also speaks to the anorexia and bulimia “epidemic” in the fashion industry. The most famous tragedy being Anna Caroline Reston who died at the age of 21 from multiple organ failure secondary to anorexia nervosa. Anna weighed 88 lbs at the time of her death. You can read her story here.
The article was disturbing not only for the mindless tragedy of it all but because I could identify with it. I can not identity with the pressures in the fashion industry, or being a ‘too fat teen model’ or just a teen model. I am about as far in looks and in age as you can get from that. I can however identify with all the adolescent pressures and fears. Pressures and fears that lead to being obsessed with your body to the point of self destruction.
How can I identify with this? I struggled with the eating disorder of bulimia. I was not a model. I was just your average kid trying to fit in. I was a long distance runner as well. I would run 10-20 miles daily then down a big bag of peanut M&Ms. I would then head straight to my next best friend, the toilet, to puke it all up. This behavior was repeated with pizza, fast food etc. No matter how much weight I lost or how thin I became, I always saw the same person in the mirror. It was some beastly kid who still needed to drop a few lbs. In the span of one year I went from about 270 lbs to 165 lbs at 6’2. As appealing as that may seem to some, it was a brutal, almost deadly ride that I would not wish on my worst enemy.
I told absolutely no one. I had no one to lean on. I had no support system.
The majority of those who suffer from the disease tell no one. Eating disorders are some of the most under-reported diseases out there. Many die of the disease because it goes untreated. It was difficult for me on another level because it was and still is primarily a female eating disorder. Males who suffer from it are significantly less likely to seek help due to the stigma. It is estimated that about 10 percent of those reporting eating disorders are male and that number has been climbing rapidly.
You can find a good source for information about eating disorders here.
A Very Inspirational Video Of Matthew Schmoker-worth watching!
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